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I said more than a week ago that I would post pictures of our signing, and I don’t think I ever did.

“We” means both the Southern Indiana Writers and S. M. Harding and I, S. H. (Suzanne) and I both being in DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, Wolfmont Press’s Toys for Tots anthology.

We approached our target:


Little did they know…. HA!

The Mystery Company turned out to be a great place, and we would have said so, even if it DIDN’T have a coffee and chocolate shop as part of it.


Jim Huang and a charming woman whose name I never got were actually happy to see us!


Suzanne (S. M. Harding) turned out to be not only a fine writer but a delightful person. She very generously donated a free cup of coffee to everyone who brought in a toy for the Marines’ toy collection box. This picture of her would be less blurry if I had partaken less of her generosity. Javajavajavajava!


We sold ALL the Toys for Tots books and people brought in so many toys the Marine had to make three trips to his vehicle to load up! Here are Suzanne, a VERY cute Marine and Old Lady Allen–in other words, me.


And a fine time was had by all.


Southern Indiana Writers’ next signing is December 13 from 1-4pm at the Harrison County Public Library.


Writing Prompt: The Mystery Company ONLY stocks mysteries, crime fiction, suspense and non-fiction related thereto. What kind of “dedicated” store would you like to visit? What kind would one of your characters like to visit or to run?

Mom and I drove to T’s and picked her up, then off to Muncie! It took us about four hours on mostly back roads, and it was RAINING ALL the WAY! It did stop, though–as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. We checked in, then I drove to the convention center and we checked in. Jim Huang, owner of The Mystery Company, agreed to carry the Southern Indiana Writers’ anthologies at his dealer’s table. He already had copies of DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, the Toys for Tots benefit book.

We went to a panel on Brett Farrar by Josephine Tey, the One Festival One Book selection this year. Most of us really liked it, although we had some problems with believability and plot holes.

Drove back and changed into something a little nicer. Went to the lobby to catch the van. And waited, and waited…. It finally came, and who should be in it but Parnell Hall, a funny, nice guy and a writer of MOST amusing mysteries. Since we were all late to the dinner because of the van, we sat together.

There was a discussion of genres–crime? mystery? just fiction?

There was a “Who Am I?” game, in which every participant, win or lose, got chocolate–can’t be bad.

There was a game which is too difficult to explain but was very funny to watch.

We rode the van back to the hotels, very crowded this time, and I had a lovely conversation about chickens with the lady in front of me and an informative conversation about Chinese chicken feet (the culinary dish) with the gentleman next to me. He had been to China and had eaten chicken feet. My mother asked him what they tasted like, and he said, “They taste like feet.” So now I’m not so hot about wanting to try them.

Now we’re back in the room, drinking wine and eating the chocolate I won in the game.


Writing prompt: Put a group of characters–most of them strangers to each other, in a van at night on a 15-minute drive. Some of them are drunk, some drunker than others.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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